Nadia Qureshi, Swati Chawla, Supaporn Likitvivatanavong, Han Lim Lee and Sarjeet S. Gill (2014). The cry toxin operon of Clostridium bifermentanssubsp. malaysia is highly toxic to Aedes larval mosquitoes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 80(18): 5689-5697
The management and control of mosquito vectors of human disease currently rely primarily on chemical insecticides. However, larvicidal treatments can be effective, and if based on biological insecticides, they can also ameliorate the risk posed to human health by chemical insecticides. The aerobic bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis and Lysinibacillus sphaericus have been used for vector control for a number of decades. But a more cost-effective use would be an anaerobic bacterium because of the ease with which these can be cultured. More recently, the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium bifermentans subsp. malaysia has been reported to have high mosquitocidal activity, and a number of proteins were identified as potentially mosquitocidal. However, the cloned proteins showed no mosquitocidal activity. We show here that four toxins encoded by the Cry operon, Cry16A, Cry17A, Cbm17.1, and Cbm17.2, are all required for toxicity, and these toxins collectively show remarkable selectivity for Aedes rather than Anopheles mosquitoes, even though C. bifermentans subsp. malaysia is more toxic to Anopheles. Hence, toxins that target Anopheles are different from those expressed by the Cry operon.